When Island Trees High School’s Jack Cornell hits the lacrosse field, his eyes are on the prize. He’s focused and determined to stop the opposing offense from scoring against his beloved Bulldogs.
“He’s really stepped up to a different level over the past few weeks, and it’s easy for defensemen to get overshadowed or overlooked because they don’t score points typically,” varsity boys lacrosse coach Brendan Keesee said. “Jack’s a very talented, but very smart player, as well. If he keeps up this pace, I see Division I potential for him as a senior. Jack has really made strides and has been our go to for long stick midfielder or close defense to cover and shut down whoever is the best player on the other team.”
While Cornell has plenty of time to decide whether or not he will play at the NCAA level, he understands what it means to be a leader for Island Trees. The key to his on-field success is his mindset, one he feels sets him apart from the competition.
“Being confident in my skills,” Cornell said of his keys to success. “I’ve been playing for a long time, so I just need to be confident in what I do. You have to be physical, aggressive and smart. You have to know when to do stuff and how to do it on defense.”
Cornell, who’s just a sophomore, also plays basketball for the school’s varsity team. Standing at about 6-feet tall, he plays the guard position, meaning he switches things up in a combination of offensive and defensive prowess. It’s a position on the court that enables him to take advantage of his quick feet and thinking on the fly.
While the two sports seem different on paper, he believes they intertwine to create something unique. There is something about the fundamentals that each sport provides that Cornell believes will help him continue to succeed moving forward.
“Basketball and lacrosse have the same principles, like moving your feet and knowing what to do,” he said. “I do feel like basketball translates into lacrosse. They both help with athleticism and stamina. They both help improve one another.”